Where next for Systems Integrators?

By Mark Hardy, Managing Director at Capula


What has finding a good plumber remotely got to do with the latest advances in technology and Industry 4.0?

Hopefully that grabbed your attention.

So, if like me, you are at all interested in the area of industrial technology, I’m guessing your social media feed is full of information mostly from the major technology vendors about the latest and greatest technologies in the field of IIOT/Industry 4.0, AI, analytics and so forth. It’s all good stuff and having examined many of these in some detail, these technologies really could be transformative.

Likewise, walk down the aisles of your local plumbing merchants and you will see some fantastic tools and a plethora of systems available. It looks a darn sight easier nowadays to plumb a sink or a toilet in than it was when I was a lad! However, having the right tools does not make me a good plumber, it doesn’t mean I will know the best way to create the perfect bathroom for you or even how to fix a leak. So you see, it’s all about applying those tools in the most appropriate way to suit the client’s needs.

The major technology vendors have large marketing budgets and global presence, they spend  millions of pounds on product development and need to recoup this investment by selling their products. The IIOT/Industry 4.0 bandwagon gives them an ideal opportunity to ride a wave of interest from a historically conservative industrial user base. But these users are conservative for good reason! Industrial technology is expected to function for many years, not just the three or four year cycles expected in a consumer or IT world. They are therefore rightfully cautious in selecting which technology to adopt.  I am sensing the tech vendors are getting impatient, the PR is getting louder and the marketing glitzier, as they aren’t selling the quantity of products they want or need to …at least not yet. (If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why the changes at GE Digital?)

The fundamental reason for this is because it isn’t about the tools, it’s about the application of those tools. That’s why the role of the Systems Integrator is even more important today. In a world where industrial users need solid application experience, it is more important than ever that we demonstrate how we can put these great new tools to use in the most appropriate way to add value to our clients. That way the clients get the right solutions and the technology vendors sell more stuff.

I’m sure when you need a plumber you don’t look at his tools, you look at his credentials; his length of time in business, his financial standing, his skills and probably most importantly, his references and particularly where he has done a job like this before.

In a rapidly evolving and increasingly digital world, it’s vital that you chose an integrator who already has the right references, can prove the value of the application, and uses the best tools available to do the job.


So, look no further…. Oh, and that tap’s dripping by the way.